KAMPALA – A section of lawmakers has called on the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES)to consider increasing the number of students set to receive study loans after reports that over 5000 applications from students were rejected.
It should be recalled that last week, the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board announced that 1,834 students had been awarded study loans by Government under the Students’ Loan Scheme for the academic year 2019/2020.
The Board while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre blamed the failure of some students to qualify on failure to beat the deadline while others submitted incomplete application forms, whereas some students missed out due to unaccredited programmes, unapproved higher education institutions by the board.
However, the number of students who missed out on the loan raised concerns amongst MPs with Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West) who called on the Ministry of Finance to prevail over the matter and ensure that the number of students are increased.
He said, “7310 students applied and their application is determined by them first getting application 1834 students were taken and 5476 students were left out. These very students have petitioned the board because they have no other alternative. What can we do for all these students and indeed the money they take, they pay it meaning they are stranded.”
Jonathan Odur, demanded the Ministry of Education to explain the criteria used to select the students that saw the Northern region walk away with only 12% compared to other regions.
He said, “The statistics in entire north only 12% students were admitted students above 28 years don’t qualify given situation in northern Uganda there were interruption and tell us the criteria that was considered, Government should get an affirmative action to ensure that students from the North are considered because 25% of students were from Central, 25% Eastern, 38% from Western Uganda and only 12% from entire Northern Uganda.”
Betty Aol, Leader of Opposition also weighed into the matter describing the students left out as a time bomb, arguing, “We need to invest a lot in our people not only buildings, roads, but we need investments in our population more than any other thing. This one needs immediate borrowing because it is a calamity, we can’t wait over 5000 students to be left out there is a big problem. Sometimes we borrow for not important issues, let us have a supplementary for this and we will not hesitate to pass it.”
David Bahati, State Minister for Planning, Ministry of Finance requested for more time to consult with his counterparts from the Ministry of Education and return back to Parliament.
“I have just received this number of students who qualify but they haven’t been assisted. We are going to get in touch with the Ministry of Education. We understand the urgency of this matter even ascertain if the numbers you are talking about and ensure that this situation is going to be handled and give it the importance it deserves,” said Bahati.